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molecules of you

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After two hours, a doctor comes out to speak to Beca. (Yes, she stayed with the redhead, don’t ask her why, because it’s definitely not that she’s become weirdly attached after a short taxi ride with her.)

 

The brunette is slumped down in a chair, eyelids fluttered shut — it is 2 am after all — when a young man shakes her shoulder. “Hi, I’m Doctor Higgins. Are you Beca Mitchell?”

 

“Uh, yeah. How’s, um… I don’t know her name.” Beca cringes internally, wincing at how awkward she sounds.

 

“Chloe Beale.”

 

Chloe . The name suits the redhead, somehow. Beca’s not sure that’s even a thing; she’s probably just deluded.

 

“Oh, okay. How is she?”

 

The doctor purses his lips and looks down at his clipboard. (Why do doctors carry them everywhere? Beca has no clue.) “Well, Miss Beale doesn’t have any emergency contacts listed, which is a bit of a problem. She’s severely malnourished, and was hypothermic. Thankfully she seems to have a strong immune system, and she’ll be fine to go home with a course of antibiotics to fight off an infection to one of her cuts. She will need someone to take care of her for a while though, otherwise we’ll have to keep her here.”

 

Beca sits back and thinks for a moment, before— “I’ll look after her,” she blurts out. The doctor raises his eyebrows, clearly surprised at her boldly spoken statement.

 

“You don’t know Miss Beale, right?”

 

“Uh, well no, but I really don’t mind. She can’t really go back on the streets in her condition, can she?”

 

“She would die soon, if that’s what you’re asking.”

 

Beca decides she doesn’t really like the man’s beady eyes and seemingly permanent frown, but at least he’s honest. “Yeah, exactly, so she can come home with me,” Beca insists. She’s not entirely sure she’s making balanced judgements, but then again, she’s also not entirely sure she’ll think differently in six hours time (hopefully after a good nap).

 

“Okay, I’ll need you to fill out some paperwork, but that should be fine. You can see Miss Beale now, if you like. I’ll show you to her room.” The doctor promptly turns on his heel and strides off, leaving Beca to scramble up form the cold metal chair and hurry after him, desperately trying to drag her fingers through her tangled hair in a bid to make herself vaguely presentable.

 

Not that it will matter, because Chloe doesn’t know who she is, so why would she care? But Beca feels better knowing she looks slightly less bedraggled than before.

 


 

 

When she walks into the small room, Beca’s immediately struck by how pale and fragile Chloe looks. It’s no surprise, because the young woman was practically on her deathbed when she found her, but she looks a lot worse than Beca was expecting.

 

Her skin is almost translucent, stretched tightly across jagged bones. Her collarbones poke out from her hospital gown, like razor blades beneath her skin. Her hair is matted and dirty, messily framing her face.

 

Beca’s surprised to feel a tug in her stomach and an urge to take care of the vulnerable woman lying before her.

 

The doctor closes the door behind him, leaving Beca alone with a sleeping Chloe. She looks wildly innocent, eyelashes resting against her cheeks, chapped lips parted ever so slightly as she breathes deeply, inhaling the clean air.

 

Drawn to Chloe’s bedside, Beca pulls up a chair and leans forward, unable to tear her gaze from the redhead’s angelic face. Before she really knows what she’s doing, she’s lacing her fingers with Chloe’s slender ones and squeezing gently.

 

When she realises what she’s doing, she cringes internally; since when is she this soft? She’s never done any of this before, especially not willingly holding hands with a stranger. It’s uncharacteristic at the very least.

 

But it’s hardly a surprise, is it? She’s not oblivious to her recent heartache, or the fact her infrequent one night stands are no longer quenching her thirst for more . More what, Beca has no idea. (Perhaps more domesticity? She used to swear off relationships, but now she’s actually not so sure that was a wise decision.)

 

Beca rubs the back of Chloe’s hand absent-mindedly as she thinks, mind racing without any sign of slowing down.

 

But then Chloe stirs, eyelids fluttering as she wakes from her medication-induced slumber. Beca snatches her hand back as though scalded, tucking it down into her lap as she watches the redhead open her eyes.

 

“Uh, hi,” Beca says, forcing her lips up into an awkward half smile. It’s more of a grimace, really, but Chloe seems pretty out of it anyways, so it’s fine.

 

“Who are you? Where am I?” Chloe tries to push herself up in bed, suddenly overcome with a wave of panic. Her arms buckle beneath her, a pained groan escaping the redhead’s mouth as she falls back down.

 

Beca watches, anxious. (She doesn’t think she’s ever been this anxious about someone else’s well-being in her entire life.)

 

“You’re in hospital. I’m Beca, I found you passed out last night on the streets,” the brunette explains carefully. She watches Chloe process the information, realisation crashing into her.

 

“Shit,” she mumbles under her breath. “I’m fine, really.”

 

“Yeah well we both know that’s a lie, don’t we? You wouldn’t be here if you were fine. The doctor said you’re severely malnourished and you were hypothermic. Oh, and you have an infection or something.” Beca isn’t entirely sure she should be telling Chloe this, but her eyes are just so blue that it’s hard not to get sucked into them.

 

“Oh.” Chloe sounds sad, but perhaps resigned too. Beca knows it can’t be easy for her —to be homeless, that is. She’s never been there — not many people have — but something must have happened for her to end up this way, something terrible.

 

Despite living her whole life as a socially detached bitch, Beca finds herself wanting to discover more about Chloe; what makes her happy, her darkest thoughts, her strengths and weaknesses. It’s disgustingly soppy, but they’re thoughts that can’t be ignored.

 

Beca’s about to say something, she doesn’t quite know what, but something , when Doctor Higgins walks in, clipboard tucked under his arm. “Hi, I hope I’m not interrupting anything?” There’s a faintly suggestive lilt to his voice that makes Beca want to hide behind her hands. She shakes her head vigorously, not daring to look down at Chloe, who she’s sure is half out of it. “Well, Miss Beale, I’m sure Miss Mitchell has told you a bit of what’s going on. You need a course of antibiotics, and to be monitored for at least thirty six hours to ensure you don’t display any dangerous symptoms. Now usually we’d let patients go home for this, on the basis they’ll have someone to stay with them. If you have nowhere to go, we’ll have to keep you here, I’m afraid. You also need to be eating substantially more, or you’ll soon die.”

 

Chloe stares down at her lap, fingers winding together as she heaves in a deep breath. “Uh, I can’t really afford—”

 

“You can come home with me,” Beca blurts, hand pressing to her mouth moments later.

 

Chloe turns to her, stunned. “I couldn’t.” There are tears glistening in her bright eyes, a fire barely contained by a flimsy cage. It makes Beca’s heart ache , and she just wants to gather the redhead into her arms and soothe her troubles away.

 

It doesn’t quite work like that, though.

 

“You can. I’d be a terrible citizen if I didn’t look after you —I can’t let you stay here. No offence, but hospitals suck ass and debt isn’t exactly fun. My apartment is way too big for me and pretty lonely so, y’know, it’d be nice to have some company,” Beca babbles. Since when does she overshare? Jesus, she needs to just shut the fuck up before she says the wrong thing.

 

The brunette really isn’t prepared for the dazzling smile Chloe shoots her, wide and bright like the sun. Beca’s immediately sucked in by the woman’s charm, offering a tentative smile in response. “Okay,” Chloe accepts, a rosy blush blooming across her cheeks.

 


 

The first day Chloe stays at Beca’s, she tries her very hardest to be useful. Beca’s at work, eight till seven, and she has a lot of time to kill. She hasn’t exactly checked it’s okay to tidy up, but the younger woman’s apartment is a mess, so she figures it won’t do too much harm to just clear up a little.

 

She assumes Beca’s pretty wealthy, because an apartment like this in New York City costs just short of five million dollars. It’s stunning, like something she’s seen only in those glossy magazines she used to read when she was a teenager.

 

Beca was right when she said it was too big for one person; it feels vast and empty as Chloe stands in the living space, picking up wrappers and drained mugs. She wiggles her toes in the huge fluffy socks Beca had passed her the previous evening, along with some warm flannel pajamas. Chloe — at the brunette’s insistence — had spent half an hour in the shower, allowing the steaming water to coat her skin, heating her from within.

 

Even in the chill of the lonely apartment, the redhead is warmer than she’s been in months. And for that, she’s grateful.

 

Desperate to do more to thank Beca, Chloe goes through the food in the fridge and freezer. There’s no fresh produce, or anything she can safely cook with, but there are ready-made meals in the freezer, and she figures they’re better than nothing.

 

Just before Beca’s due home, Chloe heats up the meals in the oven and lays the table, digging out a few candles she’d found at the back of a cupboard. When she steps back, surveying her work, she finds she’s vaguely proud of herself. She knows it’s barely enough to begin to thank Beca, but it’s something, and she hopes it’ll be appreciated.

 


 

When Beca steps through her door to a spotless apartment and dinner sitting ready on the table, she almost cries.

 

“Chloe, what have you done?” She says breathlessly, shocked. She didn’t know what she expected Chloe to do today, but it wasn’t this . No one has ever done anything like this for her, and it tugs at her heartstrings a little more than she’s comfortable with.

 

Chloe’s expression drops. “You don’t like it? I’m so sorry! I just thought I’d do something to try and thank you, but—”

 

Still at a loss for what to say, Beca holds up a hand to quiet the redhead. She shakes her head fervently, stepping towards the younger woman. “No, no, I love it. I just— No one has ever cooked for me, cleaned up for me. I don’t really know how to thank you.”

 

Now assured Beca isn’t mad, Chloe allows her signature bright smile to creep onto her face. “You letting me stay here is more than enough thanks. Now, shall we eat?” She offers her hand to the brunette, who takes it, unable to keep a soft smile stretching across her lips.